IT Ticketing Systems: Essential Features And Top Software You Must Try
Before the advent of IT ticketing systems, teams struggled to consolidate and scale their IT support efforts. IT requests arrived through informal channels, and critical information was often missing or incomplete. The result was a messy, inefficient IT request process notorious for lagging response times and low satisfaction scores. More importantly, these broken IT support processes dragged businesses down in terms of efficiency and agility.
IT ticketing systems changed the game. These systems brought structure and consistency to IT support processes and helped the IT team resolve issues faster. Ticketing systems also made it easier to allocate resources, distribute work, and to identify bottlenecks and other issues at play.
The remainder of this guide explores IT ticket systems in detail. Below, we look at the features and benefits of IT ticketing systems, as well as some techniques for managing an IT help desk. We’ll also summarize the best help desk ticketing systems on the market.
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What is a ticketing system in IT?
An IT ticketing system is software that collects and organizes incoming requests for the IT team. Once received, the software helps IT teams analyze and organize these tickets, and then distribute them for IT team members to resolve.
Each ticket is a record (or form fill) of the information related to the IT request. Tickets usually include the name of the person making the request, information about the problem or issue that needs to be addressed, and other details that help the IT team resolve or close the ticket.
IT teams review and triage the tickets before taking action. Tickets are then routed to the appropriate team member. Once the ticket is resolved, the IT ticketing system captures and consolidates all the information from the original request, along with information added by the IT team. The system may collect other information about the ticket, such as time-to-resolution or systems impacted by the issue.
IT teams that don’t use a ticketing system manage this process manually through spreadsheets, email threads, phone calls, messaging apps, or even pen and paper.
Benefits of IT Ticketing systems for service management
IT ticketing systems consolidate and organize incoming requests, but they also help IT teams build an organized, structured process for managing them.
The primary benefit of using an IT ticketing system is scalability. Teams receiving a high volume of incoming requests can streamline workflows and automate tasks, data entry, and communications.
Other benefits of using an IT ticketing system include:
- Consolidating incoming requests from multiple channels
- Providing status visibility and tracking to stakeholders
- Eliminating spreadsheet sprawl
- Delivering consistent outcomes
- Improving SLA lead times
ITSM vs. Ticketing Systems
IT Service Management (ITSM) and IT Ticketing Systems might sound similar, but these two terms differ in scope. In short:
- ITSM is a broad concept that includes not just technology, but also strategy, planning, resource allocation, and process management.
- IT Ticketing Systems are software that teams use to organize and resolve incoming IT requests. A ticketing system is a specific tool that belongs in the overall ITSM strategy.
Essential features of an IT ticketing system
IT teams have choices when it comes to selecting an IT ticketing system. The first choice is whether they want to purchase a ticketing system from a third-party vendor or build their own.
While custom-built solutions may seem appealing at first glance, they are typically expensive to create and require a vast amount of resources to integrate, maintain, and customize. It’s generally more cost-effective to purchase a ticketing system than build one from scratch.
Teams that choose to purchase a solution will find a wide range of options. Deciding which of those options is the best fit depends on the features the IT team needs.
Some of the most sought-after capabilities in an IT ticketing system include security, integrations, SLA tracking, low-code functionality, automation, and self-service portals.
Security is the number one priority for IT teams who are looking to add a component to their existing stack. That means that only options with robust security features are likely to be considered. Look for IT ticketing systems that include industry-standard security and governance features. These include:
|MFA/2FA||SSO||User permission management|
|ISO 27001 certification||AICPA certification||256-bit Encryption|
|Audit logs||High uptime||Tech support|
Tech stacks are already complex, and they will only become more so as more specialized apps and systems are required to support the different business areas. This makes it imperative that any new tool added to the existing tech stack has robust integration capabilities.
Incoming IT requests may require data, input, or action from users in several different departments. For example, if a user requests a new device, the IT team will likely have to collaborate with finance and operations teams to make sure the request is fulfilled. Approvals from other departments may be necessary as well.
IT ticketing systems that can integrate with a wide range of apps and systems will make life easier for the IT team and dissolve data and collaboration silos.
Integrations also support omnichannel ticketing, which means that requests can be managed through forms, emails, and messaging apps. Integrations can also help you get more from your existing apps and systems, a benefit known as stack extensibility.
Reporting and SLA monitoring
One of the most critical components of an IT ticketing system is its capacity to provide visibility and oversight into the request management process. To do this, it must help teams monitor and manage their SLAs.
IT ticketing systems that include customizable reporting features do this best. This includes dashboards and reports that collect metrics and measure end-to-end performance. The data the IT ticketing systems should be able to provide includes:
- The number of tickets received
- The number of tickets closed
- Average time to resolution
- Percentage of tickets resolved within the SLA
- Open tickets exceeding the SLA
- All tickets by status
- All tickets by team member
Depending on the team and its goals, other KPIs and metrics may be needed. Look for an IT ticketing system that provides as much insight and as many data points as possible. Also consider the ease with which this data can be accessed, shared, and built into a report.
Low-code is most often associated with app development, where it speeds up the development lifecycle by reducing the amount of coding necessary to build and modify software. Its ability to conserve IT and developer resources also makes sense within an IT ticketing system. Whenever changes to processes, workflows, or forms are needed, the modifications can be made using a visual user interface. No coding is required.
Manual work and repetitive tasks consume precious IT resources that would otherwise be available to solve problems and close tickets. Automation minimizes or eliminates many of the manual tasks that occur in the IT request management process, including:
- Converting form fills to tickets
- Notifications of ticket receipt
- Notification of status change
- Ticket routing or assignment
- Status updates
- Due date alerts
Automations should be customizable and easily modified as workflows or customer needs evolve. That’s much easier to do when the ticketing system is built for low-code automation.
Much of the IT team’s time could be saved by giving users the ability to self-serve requests like accessing policies, checking request statuses, and locating useful information such as request forms or guides. This is the purpose of a self-service portal.
Portals can be used to centralize forms, documents, and other information that are requested often. As a result, self-service portals reduce the number of incoming tickets, which helps the IT team conserve its resources. These portals can also help improve customer satisfaction scores by empowering users to help themselves, improving access, and speeding up time-to-resolution.
How to implement and manage an IT ticketing system
If your team is ready to move past spreadsheets and emails and implement an IT ticketing system, here are some guidelines that can help you get started:
- Define the goals of your ticketing system
- Solicit feedback from other teams
- Map your processes and workflows
- Simplify request management with rules and conditionals
- Plan (and perform) a proper rollout
Define the goals of your ticketing system
Establishing clear objectives for your ticketing systems will help you choose the right app or system for your team. Goals will also help determine how your system will serve users throughout the enterprise. Finally, your goals will also help you decide which metrics and KPIs you’ll use to measure success.
Solicit feedback from other teams
Before you move forward, make sure you understand your users’ needs. Are they looking for faster access to information? Improved SLAs? Quicker resolution to their support requests? Improving user experience is an important benefit of an IT ticketing system, but you’ll need feedback from them to make sure your system can deliver.
Map your processes and workflows
Understanding the structure of your current IT processes and workflows is critical for a successful ticketing system implementation. This means mapping both the as-is and to-be versions of the processes to ensure that all people, data, systems, and apps are connected. Process mapping will also help ensure that incoming requests are routed correctly and that bottlenecks or delays are avoided.
Simplify request management with rules and conditionals
Rules and conditionals are ticketing system features that can make it easier to manage incoming requests. Rules can prevent missing or incomplete requests from being submitted and help route tickets to the right person. Conditionals provide additional clarity and organization to incoming requests by building logic into the system.
Plan (and perform) a proper rollout
Your IT ticketing system can provide value to your team and to the users who depend on it, but only if they know how to use it. Before you throw the switch on your new system, make sure all users are aware of the upcoming change and provide training sessions so that they feel confident using it when the time comes. Create documentation that can be used as a reference or as a training guide for new hires.
5 Best IT Ticketing Systems
IT teams have more choices than ever when it comes to selecting an IT ticketing system. For some teams, a system that is built only for IT ticketing will be the best choice. But other teams will want software that’s more flexible and adaptable. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to meet both needs.
Pipefy is a low-code automation tool that offers the most sought after features in an IT ticketing system, but with the added flexibility to manage any type of process or workflow. This means that different teams and departments can collaborate in a single ecosystem rather than through a complex stack of disparate systems and apps.
Pipefy offers automation, self-service portals, omnichannel requests, SLA tracking and reporting, and an intuitive visual interface that lowers barriers to adoption. Pipefy is fast to implement and its low-code framework makes scaling processes effortless. Built-in security and broad integration capabilities create a unified experience for IT teams and the business users who depend on them.
Jira Service Management
Jira Service Management is an IT ticketing software solution that works across teams and departments. Jira offers automation, reporting, and knowledge base capabilities.
Zendesk is a request management platform that emphasizes customer satisfaction. Similar to Jira Service Management, Zendesk gives teams the ability to track KPIs and other metrics, build a knowledge base, and automate some elements of their request management process.
Zoho is a software suite that supports a wide range of use cases and departments. Its IT ticket management system is combined with other security and IT management tools in a complex, all-in-one solution.
HappyFox is a ticketing system that allows IT Operations teams to organize their requests by category and status. IT teams can pin tickets and manage their queue from a single dashboard. HappyFox supports omnichannel ticket management.
Build a better IT ticketing system with Pipefy
Effective IT ticket management requires tools that meet the IT teams unique needs. That means security, scalability, and easy customization.
Pipefy’s low-code solution gives IT teams a better toolbox to manage all their processes and workflows. And since Pipefy is easily adapted, it can be used to support any type of business, without requiring a new investment or complicated customization each time a new process or workflow emerges.
With automation and security built-in, Pipefy is the #1 choice for IT teams looking for flexibility, scalability, and fast implementation.